X

 

Philadelphia Eagles primed to defend crown while New York Giants bet on bounce-back in NFC East preview

Breaking down the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington heading into the new season.

Jay Asser 2018/09/03

Maybe it’s East Coast bias, but the NFC East is seemingly always one of the most interesting divisions in football, and now that the defending Super Bowl champions reside in it, that feels even more true.

The Philadelphia Eagles won’t catch anyone by surprise this time around, but they’re still the team to beat until proven otherwise.

Chasing them are the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and Washington, who all have flaws to overcome and questions to answer.

Learn more about the NFC East with our team guides below.

DALLAS COWBOYS

Head coach: Jason Garrett

Star player: Tyron Smith

Last season: 9-7

Key ins: Allen Hurns (Jacksonville), Tavon Austin (LA Rams), Leighton Vander Esch (rookie), Connor Williams (rookie), Michael Gallup (rookie)

Key outs: Dez Bryant (free agent), Jason Witten (retired), Anthony Hitchens (Kansas City), Orlando Scandrick (Washington), Alfred Morris (Washington)

Strengths: They may not be the most dominant offensive line anymore and are without Travis Frederick to start, but the unit still provides the identity of the team.

Weaknesses: Dak Prescott’s receivers are young and unproven.

Verdict: They’re closer to the rest of the field in the division than they are to the Eagles.

NEW YORK GIANTS

Head coach: Pat Shurmur

Star player: Odell Beckham Jr

Last season: 3-13

Key ins: Nate Solder (New England), Patrick Omameh (Jacksonville), Alec Ogletree (LA Rams), Connor Barwin (LA Rams), Jonathan Stewart (Carolina), Saquon Barkley (rookie), Will Hernandez (rookie)

Key outs: Jason Pierre-Paul (Tampa Bay), Brandon Marshall (Seattle), Jonathan Casillas (free agent), Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Oakland), Justin Pugh (Arizona), D.J. Fluker (Seattle)

Strengths: Loaded with skill players for Eli Manning to work with.

Weaknesses: Secondary was a mess last year as they allowed second-most pass yards (252.4).

Verdict: Manning may be done, but if he’s not they could reach playoffs. 

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Head coach: Doug Pederson

Star player: Fletcher Cox

Last season: 13-3, won Super Bowl

Key ins: Michael Bennett (Seattle), Wallace (Baltimore), Haloti Ngata (Detroit), Dallas Goedert (rookie), Avonte Maddox (rookie)

Key outs: Trey Burton (Chicago), Najee Goode (Indianapolis), Torrey Smith (Carolina), LeGarrette Blount (Detroit), Patrick Robinson (New Orleans)

Strengths: Additions of Bennett and Ngata improve a defensive line that already gave opposing quarterbacks fits.

Weaknesses: Banged up heading into the season with several key players still recovering.

Verdict: Roster remains deep and full of talent, which should translate to another playoff run.

WASHINGTON

Head coach: Jay Gruden

Star player: Trent Williams

Last season: 7-9

Key ins: Alex Smith (Kansas City), Adrian Peterson (Arizona), Paul Richardson (Seattle), Pernell McPhee (Chicago), Da’Ron Payne (rookie)

Key outs: Derrius Guice (injury), Kirk Cousins (Minnesota), Su’a Cravens (Denver), Kendall Fuller (Kansas City, Ryan Grant (Indianapolis), Terrelle Pryor (NY Jets), Will Compton (Tennessee), Orlando Scandrick (Kansas City), Spencer Long (NY Jets)

Strengths: Offensive line continuity.

Weaknesses: Were gashed for a league-worst 134.1 yards per game on the ground last year.

Verdict: The switch from Cousins to Smith may be good enough to reach the playoffs, but little more.

We Recommend
Related Tags
Alex Smith Dallas Cowboys Doug Pederson eli manning New York Giants Odell Beckham Jr Philadelphia Eagles